i wanted to say something intelligent but my outrage is stronger and does not come out coherent. very very sad indeed.
The woman looks like Robin Quivers (a la Howard Stern), kind of.

Edited at 2008-05-04 11:38 pm (UTC)
Fun fact: hydroquinone is a key ingredient in photo developer.

Its use in cosmetics and skin care products is now banned in many countries due to suspected carcinogenic properties.
For the most part, hydroquinone creams sold in N America are meant to be used for spots of hyperpigmentation, I think. It's strong stuff, so the idea of using it all over seems scary.
Because, really, aint black ugly?
Arghhh! Who would market this? WHY would you market this to your brothers and sisters?

Someone once posted an ad on their blog for some product they currently have in Japan that is used to glue up the upper eyelids so their eyes look less Asian, more round, ergo more "beautiful." I cannot stand it. Lemme find it... here is the video on how to use the eyelid glue. Lovely... and ouch, that frikken tong that lifts the lid...
Re: Because, really, aint black ugly?
Our goal is to enhance your appearance, while preserving your cultural identity. We never try to westernize the Asian face and body through cosmetic surgery. Instead, we aim to help our Asian cosmetic surgery patients attain harmony and balance.

Bull and shit. This is just self-hatred at it's best. Is it bigger and more insidious than I think, or is it really just a matter of something new and different is always better than what we have, like curly-haired people straighten their hair, straight-haired people curl their hair, whites tan, etc?
Re: yipes, that does sound harsh!
Maybe not self-hatred at its best, but certainly there is a market that caters to those who are not happy with being born black, asian, white, red-haired, chubby, hairy, etc. etc. those who have studied advertising can probably shed some light on this phenomenon.
The lighter you look the lovelier you look Speaking as one of the blue-white Irish, not really. I wonder which is more harmful, tanning booths or this stuff?
White folk waste billions on tanning salons and fake tan cream and nobody raises an eyebrow. Somebody markets a product for black folk who'd rather look paler and everybody's waving their arms around in horror as if they'd saved Hitler's brain.
The assumption there is that a white person's desire to look tan has very different roots than a dark person's desire to look pale.

For what it's worth, it wasn't that long ago that white people considered a paler complexion to be more attractive. It symbolized someone who didn't have to be out toiling in the fields, i.e. someone more upper-class. The tanned look today has the same connotations of luxury because so many low-paying jobs are indoors under artificial lighting -- if you have a tan, you've probably been to the beach or the salon.
And I think I just formulated the thought that I couldn't pin down before.

For people who have not suffered oppression because of their race or ethnicity, their beauty standards have nothing to do with race. From one decade to the next, the white 'ideal' can waffle between pale and tanned, blonde and brunette, straight hair or curly, blue eyes or darker ones. None of this stuff means much to them as far as practical things like discrimination, because they haven't been discriminated against on these grounds.

For members of racial groups that are discriminated against, racial traits can have a huge impact on the ideal. In general, they're consciously or subconsciously fed the idea that they are 'not as good' because of their appearance; therefore, they think that by making themselves more like the other race, they can make themselves more beautiful. Marketers jump on this kind of thing like fruit flies on a banana.

On top of that, there have been studies (here's an interview about one) that show that lighter-skinned black people are seen by whites as more beautiful or more trustworthy, and are more likely to be hired or paid well, and so on. So in a sense, it's not surprising that someone could think that being lighter would make one more beautiful and successful.
um, there are folks of white skin who have suffered oppression because of their ethnicity and race. there are those with darker skin tones who have not.
Yeah, but we're talking about specific cultures where blacks are the oppressed. In a situation where whites were oppressed by blacks, the reverse would certainly be true.
It's clearly a complicated issue... if you want to see it that way. I was really just responding in exasperation at the endless liberal hand-wringing on a community that's supposed, as I understand it, to be a light-hearted look at absurd old ads. We know these ideas are absurd - that's why they got posted in the first place presumably. Personally I don't then need to hear how culturally sensitive everybody is.

Most people these days seem to agree that racism is a bad thing. Cool. I just get irritated at all of the sanctimonious waffle that follows any post with a possible racial or sexist interpretation.

If somebody wants to lighten their skin. Fine. I don't care. Not every issue needs to be a Malcolm X moment - I reckon a lot more's been achieved by good humour and common sense than po-faced sloganeering over the years.

But you had the good grace to respond to me with a thoughtful and articulate post, which I appreciate. I just find all the pointless preaching on this LJ Community bloody tiresome on occasion, which is a shame, as it can also be a lot of fun.
I think the thing that gets under my skin is the assumption that what goes one way must go the other way, because it sort of ignores the fact that some groups of people (due to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, etc.) have indeed had experiences that others have not, or have cultural expectations and assumptions made of them that others have not. It's a bit... belittling... to ignore that, when people do still feel the effects of discrimination.

Once it really is a thing of the past, we can talk about it as if everyone's experiences are equal, but in this particular case there is still a huge imbalance. Blacks are encouraged to look like whites in ways that whites are not encouraged to look like blacks, and the cultural implications of those appearance changes are definitely not the same.
And to follow that up, I guess this:

endless liberal hand-wringing on a community that's supposed, as I understand it, to be a light-hearted look at absurd old ads

is precisely what I'm talking about. To say that this ad is purely a thing of the past is to ignore the fact that similar products and expectations are sold today. When I'm out and about, in a fairly cosmopolitan city, I see very few black women who do not have straightened hair. It's a bit more subtle than skin-lightening, but it likely comes from the same place.

I'm not black, but I'm female and I'm constantly being bombarded with ads that say I should change one or another part of my body to meet some kind of arbitrary standard, so it's something that I notice and that is a real concern in my life. I'm not here to prance around and show off my liberal enlightenment, I'm just pointing out the absurdity of pretending that this stuff doesn't happen anymore.

For what it's worth, the community info has nothing about light-heartedness in its mission. I would hope that we're allowed to actually think about and discuss the implications of the stuff we see here, and compare it to the things we advertise today and what tactics are used.
I see hair-straighteners marketed to black women and girls in the local drugstore. I'm in Toronto.